About Us

Sunday services are at 10am in Hodges Chapel of Beeson Divinity School on the campus of Samford University. For a map and directions, click here.

Phone: (205) 383-7951

Christ the King Anglican Church is a member of PEARUSA, a sub-jurisdiction of the Anglican Church of North America.

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P.O. Box 59131

Birmingham, AL 35259

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Church Blog

Articles about upcoming days in the Christian calendar, seasonal pastor updates, and various announcements will be posted here.

Wednesday
Feb132013

Lenten note from our Rector

On Ash Wednesday we begin the forty-day season of Lent. This is a traditional time for all of us to prepare ourselves for the great celebration of the Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. Personally, I enter Lent in a spiritually reflective posture. It is a time for spiritual examination. Many years ago a mentor told me to remember that in the same way that is wise to have a medical doctor give me am annual physical examination, in the same vein it is prudent to have the Great Physician Jesus Christ provide a spiritual check up. Consequently, I like to purposively fast and pray. I also need to reassess my stewardship of time and fiscal resources.

Consider Psalm 139:23: “Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me, and know my anxieties; and see if there is any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.”

As your pastor, I invite you to join me in observing a meaningful and Holy Lent.

In Christ,

Pastor Lyle

 

Wednesday
Aug152012

August Rector's Update

In the western world during the late 20th Century it became fashionable to deride supernaturalists.  Indeed, philosophical naturalism or materialism was celebrated as the only intellectually respectable world view.  But in recent decades supernaturalism is increasingly in vogue – especially among college and university students.  One effect of postmodernism with its celebration of diversity and inclusivity is a growing interest in spirituality, eastern mysticism and religions other than traditional Christianity and Judaism.  G. K. Chesterton’s observation of early 20th Century  English culture is quite applicable to American culture today: “Our problem is not that people today believe nothing – it is that they believe anything.”  Such confusion, Chesterton recognized, leads to destructive moral and spiritual relativism.  

Americans today manifest a deep longing for “something other” or “something more” than what they can see, hear, taste, touch, and smell.  They articulate a faith in a spiritual reality and seek to know it.  Most young and middle age people are not secular.  On the contrary, they express spiritual curiosity and alertness.  There is a growing cultural conviction that there is “Someone” or “Some Reality” out there that is greater than we are.  Over thirty years ago, I was a similarly confused young man with a growing conviction that God exists and that I had a need to know Him.  One evening while skimming a biography of Peter Marshall, the illustrious pastor of New York Avenue Presbyterian Church in Washington, D.C., I was deeply touched by one of his sermons where he maintained that many of our burdens and inner confusion come from lack of trust in God and “misunderstanding of what God is like. We are dismally ignorant of the of the love and power of God.  No wonder we do not trust Him!”  Peter Marshall went on to say that “if you want to know what God is like, look at Christ.  Study what Christ said.  Notice what Christ did.” After reading this sermon,  I began to prayerfully read the Gospels.  I gradually began to learn the truth of Jesus Christ’s words: “And this is eternal life,  that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.”  (John 17:3) 

Let’s all devote time to reading the Holy Scriptures daily – praying to know God through Jesus Christ because knowing Him is urgent and important.  This truth is revealed in the words from the Apostle Peter’s testimony: “And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12)

Let’s also pray to know Jesus Christ better and to love Him more.

Blessings in Him,

Pastor Lyle

Saturday
Jul142012

The Altar Linens

Each week, before the service begins, the altar is dressed in appropriate linens.  For most of the history of the church, the altar was made of marble.  To protect this fragile but beautiful material, the altar guild would cover the top of the altar with a Cerecloth.

A Cerecloth was a piece of waxed linen that was made to fit exactly on the top of the altar to protect the fair linen from the dampness of the stone and the wooden altar from wet spills.  It was a practical cloth and was not seen by the congregation.  Depending on the circumstances, many churches today use a piece of plastic cut to the appropriate size.

On top of the cerecloth when the Frontal.  It is the cloth that reflects the color of the season and can be anything from a tiny drape over the front of the altar to a large cloth that completely covers both front and back of the altar.  Many frontals are made of very expensive materials and are heavily decorated.  Ours are made of color appropriate pieces that reflect the season.  Since we not yet in a permanent home with its corresponding altar, our frontals are hand made and can be replaced, if necessary.  Each week they give a clue to where we stand in the church year.  For the next several months, we will mostly use green.  [Note that the frontal and the chasuble are matching, as is the veil over the chalice].  Green is the color of growth and the time of the year when the Gospel readings are usually focused on the teachings and parable of Jesus.

Over the frontal, you find the Fair Linen.  This piece, as the name implies, should be a piece of very nice white cloth.  It goes over the top of the altar and may hang down the sides.  Some fair linen is embroidered with five crosses, reminiscent of the five wounds of Christ.  Again, ours has been hand made by a member of the congregation to fit the needs of this particular altar.

In the center of the altar and closest to the celebrant, you will see a lovely square piece that is embroidered with an appropriate symbol, i.e. a lamb triumphant, a cross, or something that points to Jesus.  This cloth is called the Corporal.   It protects the fair linen from any spills and catches any particle of the bread that might fall on it.  The word comes from the Latin “corpus” meaning “body.”  Each week the body [wafers] and blood [wine in the chalice] are placed on top of this linen.

Sunday
Jul082012

The Alter Vessels

Have you ever wondered about what was on the altar when the service starts?  You can see a cloth covering something in the center.  What is it?

Underneath all is the chalice that will be used at the consecration of the elements.  Ours is golden plated and very simple.  Many chalices are quite ornate and are solid gold or silver, intricately carved and may even containing precious jewels.  The chalice [or cup] is meant to remind us of the one used by Jesus at the Passover Supper that we now call The Last Supper.  It was here that He instructed His apostles to do this in memory of Him.  Thus we obey Him when we celebrate communion together.  

On top of the chalice is a folded square of cloth called the purificator It is used, as you might suppose, to keep the chalice clean after someone takes a sip from it.  You will notice that both the deacon and LEM [Lay Eucharistic Minister] each have one and that they carefully wipe the lip of the chalice after each person drinks from it.

The paten [a small, shallow gold plate] rests on top of the  purificator.  It holds the large wafer used by the celebrant during the consecration of the elements.   It is used to catch any fragments that might fall during the fraction [breaking] of the bread.  It is also held up with the chalice when the celebrant announces “The gifts of God for the people of God.”

Resting on top of the paten is the pall.  It is a stiff, square of cloth that is meant to protect the elements from dust or flies [more of a problem in earlier centuries].  Embroidered on the pall is usually a cross or some other symbol for Jesus.  In Anglican churches a pall [this time a very large rectangle of material that has a cross on it] also covers the coffin during the funeral service.  Only the pall covers the coffin since we all enter the presence of God through the cross of Jesus.  We can do or bring nothing to our salvation and the pall on the casket points to the Savior.

Finally, the chalice veil covers all.  Its color always matches the color of the church year.

Saturday
Jun302012

For God and Country

 “I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone-- for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.  This is good, and pleases God our Savior,  who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.  For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all men--the testimony given in its proper time."  ~1 Timothy 2:1-6

During the Prayers of the People, we regularly pray for those in authority over us, including the President, Vice President and leaders of Congress and the Supreme Court.  We do this because we are asking that God be the ultimate guide for our country and that “we, the people” may live in harmony with and obedience  to the plans that He desires for our nation.  If all nations on earth submitted themselves fully and wholly to God’s plan, then true peace on earth would occur.

We live in the nation that is called the greatest on the earth, and we enjoy spectacular freedoms and opportunities that are undreamed of by most of the earth’s inhabitants.  Our freedom is not “free” and thus we pray for those from our midst who serve in the military:  Kaelan Clay, Peyton Denton, and Nathan White.  These men need our prayers and appreciate our support.

We have also been called the most generous nation in the world because we have freely shared with those in need.  Scripture tells us that the “religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.”  James 1:27

On this 236th birthday of our nation, let’s recommit to praying for godly leaders for our country and committing ourselves to pray and care for those less fortunate.  One of the ways that Christ the King fulfills this command is through giving away half of every dollar committed to the general fund of the church.  Let’s vow together to pray for those who have gone in our place to the far corners of the world to bring the freeing light of the Gospel to those who live in darkness.

Monday
Jun252012

Early Pentecost Season

Dear Friends,

As we enter the Green Season or the part of the church year known as Ordinary tine, our focus shifts from the events in the life of Jesus Christ to His teachings and parables. To that end, I want to encourage you to join me in following the example of Our Savior and rededicating ourselves to prayer.  A twentieth century missionary to people inside the Iron Curtain during the years of Communist domination, Peter Dyneka, Sr., lived by this motto:  “Much Prayer, Much Power.  Little Prayer, Little Power. No Prayer, No Power.”  Dyneka’s dictum is more than a clever phrase.  It captures the essence of our Lord Jesus Christ’s life and it is something acknowledged by every Christian who lives a truly Christ-glorifying life.

In Mark 1:21-39 we read that Our Lord had a busy Sabbath in Capernaum.  He had taught in the synagogue and cast an unclean spirit out of a man.  Jesus then went to Simon Peter’s home where He found the disciple’s mother-in-law ill with a fever.  He healed her and then after sunset, when many sick and demonically oppressed people were brought to Him, He healed them all.

In verse 35 we learn that early the next morning, while it was still dark, Jesus had departed to an isolated place where He spent time in prayer with his Father in Heaven.  During this time of prayer, Jesus garnered the strength to continue His ministry of traveling, teaching, preaching, and healing, and through this prayer time learned where His Father wanted Him to go.

In brief, Jesus’ lifeline to His Father in Heaven was prayer.   And if Jesus needed prayer to live a life that glorified God – how much more do we need a robust time of prayer each day?  Therefore, let’s covenant together to commit a part of each day to prayer.   For me, early in the morning usually works well.  But no matter the time, devote at least a few minutes each day to praising God, seeking His protection and guidance for the day’s activities, and interceding for your family and other people in your range of influence.

Finally, consider two prayer opportunities available to everyone on Sunday mornings.  From 9:15-9:45 a.m., before the 10 a.m. worship service at Hodges Chapel, we have a prayer meeting to praise God and intercede for the worship service and needs of the church.  Second, during Holy Communion each Sunday you are invited to go to the prayer ministers (two teams of two persons each) and pray for any need that you want to bring to the Lord.

Remember Our Lord’s example in Mark 1:35.  And take to heart Peter Dyneka’s motto: “Much prayer, Much Power.”  Join me in asking Our Lord to help us become a church family energized by prayer.

Soli  Deo Gloria,

Pastor Lyle

Wednesday
Jun202012

The Colors of the Church Year

Most of us have seen a “Wordless Book” or a “Wordless Bead bracelet” that uses colors to teach the message of salvation.  The colors help even young children who cannot read to understand the message of the Gospel.  In the same fashion, we use the colors of the church year to help us “sense” and remember the important events in the life of Christ.  It was God Himself who first designated certain colors be used when He gave explicit instructions to Moses about the construction of the Tabernacle.  [see for instance Exodus 26:1; 36:8]

White is used for the major feasts related to the Lord Jesus and His Father.  You will see white, the symbol of purity, joy and truth often paired with gold, the color of royalty.   White is also used for many  feasts of saints who are not martyrs.

Red, like fire, reminds of us the coming of the Holy Spirit and is prominently used at Pentecost and ordinations when the call of the Holy Spirit is recognized and affirmed.  Likewise, a blood red symbolizes the sacrificed life of a martyr and calls us to remember the sacrifice of Jesus and His shed blood on our behalf.

Green brings to mind those seasons when crops are planted and mature.  Green has always been associated with new life and growth and it is used during the non-festival or ordinary time after Epiphany and between Trinity Sunday and the end of the church year.

Purple is also a royal color but in the church year it calls us to repentance.  It is considered mostly a penitential color and is always used in Lent when we “repent in sackcloth and ashes” that we might be born again with Christ on the Day of Resurrection.   It is also seen in Advent, but there it carries more of a quiet sense of expectation and preparation that we might be spiritually prepared for the feast of Christmas.  Some churches have chosen to use a dark blue for Advent in order to distinguish it from the color of Lent.   Purple is also used for healing services.

Black represents deep sorrow and may be used for Good Friday and for the dead but these days white is often used for Christian funerals to celebrate the new life in heaven for the deceased.

Sunday
Jun102012

The Season of Pentecost

First Sunday after Trinity

The Season After Pentecost is that part of the church year when we focus on the parables and teachings of Jesus rather than the events of His life.   The name of this season varies widely from church to church—it can be called Kingdomtide, Dominiontide, Ordinary Time or the non-Festival half of the year. In most churches, the general theme of the Bible readings and sermons concerns the church’s mission in the world to become like Jesus and make disciples of those who do not yet know Him.

“The Season After Pentecost” begins on the day after Pentecost. In the western Church, it ends on the Saturday before the First Sunday of Advent.  The last Sunday of this season is always Christ the King Sunday.

The feast of Pentecost derives from the Hebrew celebration, Shavuot, which was held 50 days after Passover and was associated with the first harvest of grain in the spring. The Jewish holiday, also referred to in the Bible as "the feast of weeks," came to be identified with the revelation on Mt. Sinai when Moses received the Ten Commandments. It may also reflect still older, pagan festivals celebrating the return of life to nature following the "death" of winter. Given the importance of Passover, the Sinai tradition, and the spring harvest festivals to both Jews and early Christians, one begins to understand the significance of Pentecost.

Since this season is meant to be a time of growth in one’s spiritual life, the color associated with it is green.  At Christ the King we have vestments and an altar frontal that is in a brighter green during the first half of the season and a darker one for the second half, which occurs in fall and winter.  

Sunday
Apr222012

Birth of the Church

Dear Friends,

The Lord has risen, alleluia!   Without His resurrection from the grave, there would be no victory over death and we would be people without hope.  That is why we celebrate with such joy at this time of year.   The time between the Resurrection and Pentecost – the birthday of the church – is thought to be one great Sunday or time of celebration.  In the early church, the believers did not fast during this season because the resurrection of Jesus was such a great source of joy.  Death was defeated and the gates to heaven, with access to God the Father, opened in dazzling joy and amazement and “the Great Fifty Days” from the Resurrection to Pentecost were seen as especially holy.

Unfortunately today, many see the reality of what happened on Resurrection Sunday or Easter as a standalone event with little ability to change lives.  That leads to the devaluation of the death of Jesus and undermines the spiritual power found in the Resurrection.   If the Resurrection is real, and I believe it to be so, then all that Jesus said and taught must be believed and lived.  Each day should be seen as a precious opportunity for becoming more and more the person that God created us to be.  Because Jesus defeated death and sin, we can too.  These are not mere ancient events or pious, well-intentioned words but a promise from God who never wavers but rather invites us to draw nearer to Him that we might know that deep inner peace that our souls crave.

We, at Christ the King, invite you to come and join us as we remember the great things God has done for us and walk the road from the empty tomb to the coming of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost.   Jesus is alive, real, and waiting for each of us to live in the transformational power that He won through His death and Resurrection.

The Lord is risen indeed, alleluia!

Pastor Lyle

April, 2012